Dozens Of Syrians Reported Killed In Daraa

Violent protests erupted Friday in Syria, with dozens of people killed in and around the restive city of Daraa and a boy slain in the coastal town of Latakia, reports said.

"The situation in Syria has worsened considerably over the past week, with the use of live ammunition and tear gas by the authorities having resulted in a total of at least 37 people being killed in Daraa , including two children," said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Among the dead were 15 people who tried to march to Daraa, sources said, and nine others who died when security forces fired on demonstrators in Daraa's main square, said Wissam Tarif, a human rights activist.

There were many casualties in Daraa, said Abdullah, who asked that his full name not be reported due to security concerns. He said he saw Friday's events in the city, where deadly clashes have taken place in recent days between security forces and protesters.

"Thousands gathered and moved to the governor's building in Daraa, and there they burned a large picture of Bashar al-Assad, and then they toppled a statue of Hafez al-Assad in the center of the square," Abdullah said, referring to the current president and his late father, the former president.

"After that, armed men came out from the roof of the officers' club in front of the governor's office and started firing at the crowd," he said.

Aman al Aswad, a political dissident, said dozens of people appeared to have been killed or wounded in clashes with security forces in the square, but he could not be precise on the totals.

CNN could not independently confirm the accounts as the Syrian government has yet to grant access to the network.

Earlier, more than 100,000 people attended an anti-government demonstration in the town, according to Kamal Aswad, a political activist in Daraa.
CNN